What you need to know before you go to the Ohio State Fair

The Ohio State Fair in Columbus, Ohio has been a family tradition since 1850.

To make the most out of your visit, I’m sharing tips and what you need to know before you go for families attending the fair in 2022.

What you need to know before you go to the Ohio State Fair

Wear comfortable shoes and clothing

Comfort is key because you will be putting on a lot of miles during your visit. Wear comfortable clothing and shoes and don’t forget the sunscreen.

visit Ohio State Fair

Bring bottled water and snacks for little ones

You are allowed to bring food and non-alcoholic drinks into the fair. Save money by bringing your own water and then you can enjoy more vendor foods. I suggest packing a small backpack. *No glass containers are permitted.

Visit the ATM before you arrive

Most of the vendors only take cash. If you do need to use the ATM at the fair you will be charged a $5 service fee on top of any additional fees from your bank.

Bring a battery charger for your phone

Your battery life can go down quickly during a long day at the fair. Pack a power charger so that you can stay connected and still take pictures while you are at the fair.

walking at Ohio State Fair

Bring a stroller or wagon for younger kids

You do not want to have to carry kids and a bunch of stuff at the end of the day. Make your life easier by having an option for kids who grow tired. If you forgot your stroller at home, there are rentals available at the fair.

Ohio State Fair app

Download the Ohio State Fair App or Take a daily schedule with a fair map

Make sure that you check out the daily schedule so that you don’t miss any of the events that your family would be interested in.

I would recommend downloading the Ohio State Fair App so that you can easily access all of the info on your phone. The app has the most up to date daily schedule, an interactive map, photo filters, audio tours and more.

There are lots of free events and activities going on throughout the day. Use the schedule and map to help plan out your day and avoid a lot of backtracking.

Set a spending budget

Help your kids understand their options and let them be a part of the decision making process. This is especially helpful when it comes to sampling different types of foods at the fair.

Share items so that you can sample more or allow each person to choose a few items that they really want to try on their own.

shuttles Ohio State Fair

Drop a Location Pin or Take a picture of where you parked

It’s easy to forget where you parked your vehicle when you are surrounded by hundreds of cars.

You can use Google or Apple maps to pin your exact parking lot location.

Take a picture and also take advantage of the complimentary shuttles to and from the parking lot to the gate entrance.

General parking is free to fairgoers in the main lots north of the Cardinal Gate.

Establish a plan ahead of time in case someone gets lost

Communicate to your kids what to do if they get separated from you. There are lost kid stations located at the park.

Younger families: Be on the lookout for the Infant Care and Nursing Stations Presented by OhioHealth

There are two large air-conditioned family stations located at the fair where you can change a diaper or enjoy privacy if you are a nursing mom. These are located in the Bricker MarketPlace Building.

Ohio pork at Ohio State Fair

Sample the Ohio State Fair Foods

No visit to the fair is complete without trying some of the fair food! There is an Ohio State Fair app to help you locate your favorite fair foods and other points of interest.

Guests with special dietary restrictions will still find plenty of vendors at the fair with the following options:

  • Dairy free
  • Tree nut free
  • Egg free
  • Sugar free
  • Gluten free
  • Wheat free
  • Peanut free
  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan
Food at Ohio State Fair

A few of our favorites during our previous visit to the Ohio State Fair were

  • French waffles
  • “Pig Wings” and Pork lender loin on a stick at Ohio Pork
  • Dole Whip
  • Lemon Shakeup
  • Bacon wrapped deep fried Oreo
  • Deep fried Buckeye
  • Ice cream sundae funnel cake
  • Schmidt’s Sausage and cream puff
Ohio State Fair Food

A few other noteworthy fair foods are

  • Roasted Corn
  • Deep fried taco
  • Donut Burger
  • Cheese Curds
  • Tater Tots
food vendors at Ohio State Fair

Save on Food Samples at the Ohio State Fair

On Thursdays the fair will have $3 Thursdays where fairgoers can sample smaller portioned Fair foods for a fraction of the price!

Each vendor will be offering one item each Thursday of the Fair for $3.

Photo opps Ohio State Fair

Take pictures with the iconic fair landmarks

  1. Butter Cow
  2. Ohio sign
  3. Smoky the Bear
  4. Red Cardinal

Animal exhibits Ohio State Fair

Visit the animals and ask questions

There is no such thing as a stupid question!

Learn more about the animals and farm life from the people that you meet inside the barns and get a greater appreciation of what goes into the meaning of farm to table.

DNR Ohio State Fair

Visit the Natural Resources Park

This park is such a gem and almost make you forget that you are still at the fair.

The Natural Resources Park is operated by the Department of Natural Resources and provides guests opportunities to connect and learn more about nature with hands-on activities and exhibits.

Kids under 14 can learn to fish along with other outdoor activities.

Kids Fishing at Ohio State Fair

The natural environment is extremely relaxing and a wonderful place to enjoy time reconnecting with nature.

There is an aviary, animal rescue, butterfly house, playground, archery range, and many hands-on learning areas.

art exhibit Ohio State Fair

Don’t forget the exhibit halls

There is a lot of talent on display in the exhibit halls. Take a few moments and enjoy the creativity on display in a variety of mediums.

Giant slide at the Ohio State Fair 1

Purchase a wrist band if you plan on riding a lot of rides

There is a greater value with wrist band purchases if you plan on going on a lot of rides. If your kids can ride the rides by themselves you might not need to purchase one.

*Wrist bands do not work for the SkyGlider ride presented by Ohio Lottery this year.

I love the Ohio State Fair

When is the Ohio State Fair?

 The Ohio State Fair will take place July 27 – August 7, 2022.

Find More Information on the Ohio State Fair

You can find out more information from the Ohio State Fair website.

Thanks again to Ohio State Fair for hosting our visit. 

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What you need to know before you go to the Ohio State Fair in Columbus

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